2:35 pm - 03/27/2008

Can you smell a woman's vaginal odor?

Okay, I was talking with this guy and he told me that he smelled a woman's vaginal odor at church..he "claimed" everytime she would move or cross her legs he smelled "fish" or a loud "perchy" smell traveling a few seats down.

I asked if perhaps she was wearing a dress or a skirt. He said no. She was wearing jeans. I asked if he was sure this was vaginal odor, and he was positive.

I don't believe him. He's kinda sexist anyway. Although, I had a female friend claim she smelled a girl on her period in a clothing store before, she said it was a loud fishy smell that you couldn't ignore.

Now, I have smelled bad odors from others before, like mustiness from not wearing deodorant or from sweat, or just plain funk. But I have never smelled a woman's vaginal odor unless I went right after her in a restroom stall. Other than that, how can you smell this "fishy" aroma through her clothes? Is this guy being foolish?

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atalanta0jess 27th-Mar-2008 09:50 pm (UTC)
Maybe the women in question had really bad infections or something. I think that it is very rare that you could smell someone's vagina through their clothes unless you stuck your nose in their crotch.

Not to mention that vaginas generally do NOT smell like FISH! So if they were smelling a fishy odor, they were absolutely positively not smelling a normal, healthy vagina (or a period odor).
sexandsoup 27th-Mar-2008 10:02 pm (UTC)
Agreed, I can't imagine that anyone with an average sense of smell could detect the smell of the average vagina unless they were all up in it. I'm guessing that if he did indeed smell her, she had an especially scented vagina, likely due to an infection such as BV. Also, jeans are an article of clothing that lots of people don't wash after every washing, so if she did have a prominent vaginal/vulval smell, it could have been picked up by her jeans after a few wearings.

This is all speculative, of course; I suspect your friend is actually full of shit.
cheesyfeetlick 27th-Mar-2008 10:01 pm (UTC)
I hate when people talk like that. I had gay friends who always talked about vaginas smelling of fish. I don't know of any time when my vagina has smelled like fish. If it did, I'd worry about my vagina's health.
cheesyfeetlick 27th-Mar-2008 10:12 pm (UTC)
Also, I've never really smelled anyone else's smell, aside from toilets as you mentioned, not even playing the cello with other women in an orchestra. I smelled my own once and worried that someone else smelled it (a clean smell, I'd say), but I asked my best friend and stand partner and she didn't smell anything. And she would've told me the truth.
speckled_hen 27th-Mar-2008 10:04 pm (UTC)
You *can* smell stale apocrine sweat (the musky-smelling sweat secreted by the genitals) on clothes - I know that when I've worn tight-fitting jeans for a couple of days, I definitely notice it. That's probably what he could smell. It's not the smell of vagina though. It's something completely different!
swiggett 27th-Mar-2008 10:06 pm (UTC)
I remember vividly that once in HS I could tell that a friend was on her period because of a familiar odor I noticed when she had to spread her legs very far in order to step over an obstruction in the bus aisle. It wasn't that her vagina smelled, but that she was wearing a pad, and the large step caused the pad to 'separate' a bit from contact with her skin, thereby allowing air to hit it. That is what made it smell, and made the odor available to my nose.

I wouldn't call it fishy. But I do say it is possible to smell a woman's vaginal odor, under specific circumstances. I'm not sure about his case, though
disturbedme 27th-Mar-2008 10:32 pm (UTC)
Same here. I've smelled when a friend or someone was on her period because I was able to smell it when she walked by, etc. Of course this doesn't happen EVERY time, but once in a great while it'll happen. I wouldn't say it was a "fishy" odor though really.

queensugar 27th-Mar-2008 10:11 pm (UTC)
A healthy vaginal odour just does not travel that kind of distance, nor is it even strong enough to do so.

If one has a bad case of bacterial vaginosis, it is possible to smell it from a fair distance away (read: a few feet), though I'm highly doubtful you could smell it from a few seats away. When I had a horrific case of BV, I could smell it through jeans when I was standing up, but that was a pretty unusual incident.

As far as smelling a woman during menstruation -- I really don't think so.

If this is the same friend you've quoted other things from in this community -- I'll just go with a blanket statement that everything he says tends to be flat out wrong, and I wouldn't really put much stock in his opinions about women or women's bodies.
incarnated_joy 27th-Mar-2008 10:28 pm (UTC)
I agree, I remember when I had horrifically bad bv, that was the only time I was sure people could smell anything through my clothes.

Period smells, well it depends. I find that if I wear pads, the smell is more noticeable, usually a sign that the pad needs changed. With my mooncup I smell nothing ever. The dog still sticks his nose in my crotch though no matter what I use :P
vivalamusica 27th-Mar-2008 10:32 pm (UTC)
I agree that your friend is probably full of crap on the vaginal odor. It is possible to smell someone's period sometimes, mostly when they're wearing a pad that's pretty full. I teach middle school and sometimes I can tell when my students are at "that time of the month" because they're not always that good about changing their pads regularly. However it's definitely not a "loud fishy smell"; it's more metallic and maybe a little musty.
femo 28th-Mar-2008 03:18 am (UTC)
I was just about to say this! When I smell other girls on their periods, it's a metallic smell. I've never smelled a "fishy" vagina.
__nopanuru 27th-Mar-2008 10:35 pm (UTC)
It sounds like that guy was being a jerk. Perhaps she did have an odor, but a vaginal stench traveling that far and being that strong? I really doubt it.
I have noticed that I can smell myself when I'm on my period. Not just my crotch, my sweat smells different. I've noticed that with some very close friends, also, but that's about it.
archangelbeth 27th-Mar-2008 11:04 pm (UTC)
Only time I've ever been able to smell my own odor, it was more like a coffee scent. I have... absolutely no idea whether anyone else could smell it, or how they'd describe it.

Now, it is possible that some people simply have more accurate noses than others. There's a fellow on an entirely different forum who claims he can smell the difference between a cat who's awake and one who's asleep! He could be a nutcase, or he might just be a minor mutant with an especially acute sense of smell.

If your friend bugs you, you can tell him he's got a mutant nose now. *grin*
cadetsandkings 28th-Mar-2008 05:35 am (UTC)
Haha I am so glad I am not the only crazy coffee-smeller!

And yeah I think that some people DEFINITELY have more sensitive noses. I have a really sensitive nose usually; ugh I'm always smelling everything and then I'm afraid that if I ever stink everyone will notice!
sprtwrid 27th-Mar-2008 11:10 pm (UTC)
i can pick up on female smells sometimes. For example i have a friend who does not wear panites with her jeans, and she will wear her jeans a few times before washing them. When its humid, i pick up on it. Sometimes i pick it up with random women. When i have a migraine coming on, i can smell everything (like my daughters diapers, even when my bedroom door is shut and she is downstairs). women on their periods do smell different to me too, but my nose is pretty sensitive to body smells.

I dont think its that unlikely that he could smell someone, though i doubt it was the fishy smell hes talking about. Maybe dirty panty/pants or a liner thats been on to long. Maybe she had extra discharge that day.
lunakatrina 27th-Mar-2008 11:26 pm (UTC)
Some women do give off strong "period" odors at certain times during their period. It's mainly a strong sweaty, feminine smell (the first few times I smelt it I was like "Damn, she smells...womanly..?). I *know* this because my suitemates, my mother, and several of my friends exude this smell, sometimes.

Vaginal discharge is another story--I call bullshit on your male friend.
dayglow 28th-Mar-2008 12:20 am (UTC)
I've never smelled another woman's vaginal odors. Sometimes I can smell my own period-y ones wafting up after I've had my legs crossed for a while and uncross them, but I've asked other people (boyfriends and whatnot - people who are around me often enough to smell my crotch if it's rank and would be nice enough to tell me that yes, my crotch is rank) and nobody has ever, ever noticed it.

The only time a vagina would smell fishy is if there's an infection, like BV or trichomonasis. The thought that vaginas smell fishy is such a stupid stereotype/comment.
bubblytoes28 28th-Mar-2008 01:31 am (UTC)
I have a friend who has a really strong smelling odor and I'm pretty positive it's coming from her vagina. I absolutely dread car rides with her. That's the only time it's bad though...if we're standing a couple feet apart from one another, I can't smell it.
bloody_kisser 28th-Mar-2008 03:20 am (UTC)
I smell it a lot. I have a REALLY sensitive nose. I can smell women on their period, or someone who hasn't showered for a day or two.

A girl in one of my classes had an STD... it was "Tich" or "Trich" something or other - it makes odor even worse. I could tell... >.< It was awful.

I don't think it's as weird or as uncommon as you think. I had a guy friend who could smell it too.
jenninhtown 28th-Mar-2008 03:46 am (UTC)
A few times I have smelled fishy odor from women. In one case I know it was because of urinary issues. Old urine can smell fishy. In other cases it was most likely a bad infection that they left untreated. I never understood how they could let it go like that. In most cases, it's women who obviously don't care much about themselves and don't keep up with basic hygeine.
jenninhtown 28th-Mar-2008 03:47 am (UTC)
Also, old semen can smell fishy.
eatsdirt 28th-Mar-2008 11:28 am (UTC)
you can definitely smell it. hell, i smelled myself the other day working out at the gym. it wasn't a fishy smell but I definitely noticed it while working on the hip abduction machine.
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